Disused public buildings, including swimming baths, pubs or hospitals, should be sold off to the community for as little as £1, a government-commissioned report recommends today.
The report, published by the Department for Communities and Local Government, urges councils to sell off or lease assets to community groups, where the deal is for the benefit of the community and is underpinned by safeguards to ensure good management
It argues there are no “substantive barriers” to prevent councils transferring assets into community management or full ownership but the available powers are not well known.
The report on Community Management and Ownership of Assets by Lewisham Council chief executive Barry Quirk concludes that transferring public assets to local people leads to more responsive services and more confident communities.
Quirk said: “Community ownership can bring people from different backgrounds together; it can foster a sense of belonging and play a role in enhancing the local environment, alleviating poverty and raising people’s expectations.”
The report won the full backing of Communities Secretary Ruth Kelly who said councils must move away from the “old orthodoxy” of distributing grants and look at new ways to devolve power and influence to community organisations.